*And…Drew’s back. I know, I know. We all hate Drew and rightfully so. He’s manipulative and a coward and selfish. Which makes him the perfect human adversary for Roman-emphasis on human. Now that Roman has discovered this amazing power inside himself he wants nothing more than to be a hero worthy of that power. But after feeling helpless and useless and like a failure in so many other aspects of his life he’s also tempted to use that power to satisfy some of the rage and regret he feels. The first time he’s tested is when he finds Dani attacking Bryn in Germany and the next time he’s tested is when Drew interrupts his attempt to bring Bryn back to life. The thing is, so many of the issues explored in these novels are human issues and the paranormal aspects are only meant to amplify them. It’s justifiable and even easy for Roman to destroy the shadows because they’re pure evil. But what about when Dani was possessed? Was she evil then? And what about Drew? He’s a horrible person but is he evil too? These are the questions that Roman will spend the rest of the series answering, questions that will drive him to make some difficult choices, some life changing…some life ending.
*There’s a lot of symmetry in these stories and the characters often find the answer to the question of what to do next by reexamining the past. For a while I really contemplated Roman’s plan to wake Bryn actually working. In the first book his memories were ignited by touch and sound and smell–his senses connecting him to the real world. I thought Bryn waking in the same way would be poignant. But then I realized that having her not wake at all (and adding yet another perceived “failure” to Roman’s list of personal mistakes) would be even more powerful.
*The decision to have Roman go back to New Mexico was another hard one. If the roles were reversed Bryn would stay by his bedside until Anso himself dragged her away. But Roman is right when he admits that he’s not as strong as Bryn. Even though Roman’s a different person since waking up, a better person, he’s still in constant battle with the old version of himself who is pretty much a selfish coward. Separating them again was the right thing for the story but as far as their relationship goes I’m not so sure if his actions can truly be justified. But maybe that’s what makes it ring so true. People have a tendency to avoid the things that scare them and no one does that better than Roman.
*Roman’s turning point in this novel is the moment he erupts on his father, revealing the first glimpse of the darkness he’s suspected has been inside him all along. It makes you wonder if the darkness was really innate or if Roman’s self-loathing obsession somehow drew the darkness to him like a magnet. And if that’s the case, can he propel it with the adverse thinking? That he’s good and worthy of Bryn’s love? He entertained the thought briefly after meeting the Rogues but now they’re thousands of miles away and Bryn feels even farther. Which means Roman’s mental breakdown could not have worse timing. It was definitely tough writing this scene. Roman’s father is one of my favorite characters but all Roman does, even when he’s not trying to, is cause him pain. And here, in this moment, he hurts him more than the distance and his suicide attempt combined. Because even though Roman’s not dead, the son his father knew is gone.
*Felix defines living with anxiety to a T-“Trouble sleeping, eating, shitting, walking to my car alone at night—” etc. etc.